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The Cherry Boys

    by Tony Layton


Drama Play Script: 'The Cherry Boys' by Tony LaytonTom Armstrong undergoes a voyage of sexual awareness as a boy rating on a cruise ship in 1955. He is a naïve teenage boy from the country who has to adapt quickly to the culture of the ship, where, although illegal at the time, homosexuality amongst the crew was a fact of life.

Befriended by two other young stewards, he learns how to cope with waiting at tables and how to co-exist with the crew. When his immature love for a rich American female passenger is rejected, it leaves him vulnerable to the advances of Mick who tries to persuade him that his sexual orientation should be towards men.

The play climaxes with the (unseen) rape of Tom by Mick, who, once this is revealed, is rejected by his homosexual lover, Kane. Whilst the rest of crew generally tolerate the ‘queers’ on board, they decide that Mick has gone too far and enact their own form of retribution.

The play is based on real events, and is a fascinating glimpse at the social morés in place at the time.


(9m, 4f)
Tom - a northern teenager, the central character
‘Chalkie’ - quick-witted Liverpudlian teenager
‘Goldie’ - Chalkie’s mate, slower on the up-take
Mick - 30’s, from Londonderry
Steiner - 40’s, the restaurant manager
Angie - early 20’s, an American passenger
Kane - 50’s, a power in the ship’s homosexual community
Tom’s Mother - 40’s, with middle class pretensions
Vera - Tom’s working class girlfriend at home
Japanese Girl - a prostitute in Kobe
Mack - a Glaswegian 'hard case' on the chain gang
1st Steward
2nd Steward

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